The trout season opener is just a couple of weeks away on Saturday, April 30th so we wanted to take a minute and talk about trout fishing and specifically for the spin fishermen or beginner.
Having the right tools for the job makes all the difference between success and failure. When it comes to trout fishing, your line, rod and reel they are your tools for success.
First off, let's talk about line selection. The biggest mistake we see people making when it comes to trout fishing and specifically in the waters of Sierra County where the rivers and streams run clear the vast majority of the year, is that they use too heavy of a line. You'll see guys out there fishing with their bass rods and 15 lb to 20 lb test, and they don't catch anything. Remember, we're fishing for trout, not tuna scale it down.
Light line is the key. Light line with extremely low visibility is even better, which is why we use and recommend 2 lb test Vanish by Berkley. Vanish is a fluorocarbon line and we use it as our mainline, not a leader. In fact we rarely use a leader at all. Fluorocarbon which when in water becomes virtually invisible. Trout have keen eyesight and any advantage you can get is a good one. Vanish has tremendous knot strength and casts well.
One other consideration when using a fluorocarbon line is that unlike monofilament lines, fluorocarbon line sinks, it doesn't float. So if you're fishing a lure, fly or other offering that you'd like to have suspended higher in the water column or even floating on the surface of the water, you may not want to use fluorocarbon. One way to combat this problem which we recommend people do is to have a backup spool filled with 2 lb test monofilament line. This way it's a simple switch over depending on fishing tactics being used and you'll always stay on the fish.
Rod selection, let's get real for a minute. I'm an SUV kind of guy. I don't have a truck, a car and a sports car. I have one car that does everything I need it to do. That being said, I practice the same philosophy when it comes to fishing rods. I have one rod I use and that's it.
The rod I use is made by Phenix Rods, Elixir FX661-1. It's a 6'-6" one piece rod, with fast action made of graphite. The one piece and the graphite with the cork handle makes for superb sensitivity so you never miss even the subtle bite, along with added control and confidence to know what your lure or offering is doing at all times.
This rod allows me to fish bait, spoons, spinners, fly and bubble combos, mini-jigs, and trout worms extremely effectively. It's length is perfectly suited for all these applications, and it's not so long as to become cumbersome when navigating through tight creeks like Pauley Creek. It also allows for perfect fly and bubble casting at one of the lakes in the Lakes Basin like Salmon Lake or Packer Lake. We highly recommend this rod.
Now onto spinning reels. It can really seem to get complicated when selecting a reel, but the truth is the vast majority of the ultralight reels on the market are more than adequate to meet your needs. The key to selecting a spinning reel is a smooth drag with a great anti-reverse system. Typically the more ball bearings the better, but remember that can make a reel quite pricey, so instead of 10 you might want to find one with 4 or 5. Don't forget, you're fishing with 2 lb test line, so any glitch in your drag and there is a good chance that you'll lose the fish due to your line breaking. Anti-reverse allows for immediate hook setting without a delay.
I use Shimano reels, like the Sienna, but you could also go with Pflueger, Diawa, or even Abu Garcia. It's up to you and your preference. Again, look for one with anti-reverse, that is rated for 2 lb test and preferably on sale.
You might also consider the weight of the reel. Believe me if you're rock hopping up the N. Yuba River all day, casting and reeling, the weight of the reel will eventually play a role in your fatigue factor. Also the lighter the reel I find that I am more connected with my rod and at one with the lure or offering in the water as well as when I'm fighting the fish.
We hope that helps and we hope you have a tremendously successful fishing season here in Sierra County. Next time we'll talk about where to fish and a secret bait we like to use in the summer months.
Next time we'll be talking about one of our favorite ways to fish with flies and anyone can do it easily with a spinning outfit, the fly and bubble combo.
Written by: Stephen Terry, Founder of Hwy 49 Adventures, April 16, 2016
If you have other fishing questions please feel free to contact Stephen via email
Friends of Hwy 49 Adventures
If you're interested in Lodging along the beautiful N. Yuba River with fantastic access to the river and to Jim Crow Creek for native rainbow and brown trout fishing, while you stay in one of their terrific cabins nestled in the Tahoe National Forest or one of their bed and breakfast rooms, please consider staying at the Sierra Shangri-la.
For the top fly fishing guide service in Sierra and Plumas Counties, please contact Jon Baiocchi of Baiocchi's Troutfitters. He's got an amazing reputation for putting his clients on the fish and his knowledge of the area is second to none. He's as much a teacher as he is a fishermen.